Crimean War Questions

September 3rd, 2005  

Topic: Crimean War Questions

Hello everyone,

I'm lucky enough to have five letters written before and during the Crimean War by a relative of mine (Charles). I'm certainly no military historian but am trying to 'put some flesh on the bones' and wondered if anyone can help point me in the right direction for further research.

These are the letter dates and a few questions about each....I've done plenty of searching with Google but without too much success so far...

Letter 1 - 8 August 1847 - Quebec.

Charles says he enlisted at Epsom in Surrey and signs his letter as being in the Rifle Brigade. I know this brigade became the Green Jackets but was Epsom a well known enlistment office? Any idea why he would have been posted directly to Quebec?

Letter 2 - 24 October 1847 - Quebec C.E.

What does CE mean? Is it a military suffix? Charles now signs himself as a member of the Reserve Battalion, Light Brigade. What link does this have to the Rifle Brigade? Why would he have changed brigades?

Charles' brother appears to have joined the 'reserves' in Portsmouth. Any idea what reserves these were likely to have been? He was a Lance Corporal but appeared to have returned to farming a couple of years later.

Letter 3 -7 November 1849 - Quebec C.E.

This letter tells of the Quebec cholera outbreak. Charles refers to a 'Carrehall Standard'...was this a military vehicle or wagon?

Also refers to Colonel Lawrence, is there any muster of the Rifle Brigade on the net that may refer to him?

Letter 4 -14 March 1852 - Kingston West, Ontario

Charles is now in 2nd Btn. Rifle Brigade and then went on the fight at the Battle of Alma. Any more info on this Btn. other than the Green Jackets official site would be welcome.

Letter 5 - 3 October 1854 - Sebastopol

Charles tells of the Rifle Brigades action at Alma. He was to die at Inkerman. Any info on casulaty lists from Alma would be welcome...he lists the numbers of Alma casualties in his letter and briefly describes the battle.

Sorry to have the carpet bomb approach but any help would be gratefully received and I'll send a transcript of the letters to anyone in exchange for any advice.

September 3rd, 2005  
In fact I'll post the letters up for your interest (each is a translation)...


Quebec, North America.

8 August, 1847.

Dear Father and Mother,

I hope this finds you enjoying a good sate of health as thank God it leaves me at present.

I dare say you will be surprised to here from me at this place and think me an undutiful son for not letting you know where I was but I cannot keep silent any longer and will tell you the truth about everything.

I enlisted at Epsom, Surrey on the Sunday after Christmas. From Epsom I went to London and was sworn in. Then I was sent to the Isle of Wight and was there for five months. I enlisted in the Rifle Brigade from which a draft was sent out and I spent 59 days aboard a ship coming to Quebec.

Dear Father, I am glad to tell you that I like the life of a soldier very much and this is a very pretty country.

I hope this letter finds all my brothers and sisters quite well, likewise Grandmother and Aunt Martha. I hope Uncle James’ wife is better than when I saw her last. Please send me word whether my brother Thomas is married yet.

Dear Father, I expect to remain in this country for five or six years and then we shall come to England when I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you all quite well.

Dear Father, everything is very cheap here. You can get very good rum for eight pence a quart and other liquor is equally cheap. We can get very good tobacco for eight pence a pound and three pounds of beautiful white bread for four and a half pence. I assure you that we live well.

We get half a pound of bread and a pint of tea for breakfast, another pound of bread for dinner with a pound of the best beef and plenty of good soup. In fact we get more than we can eat.

We expect to leave Quebec very soon but I do not know where we are going at the moment. It’s extremely hot here in the summer and dreadfully cold in winter and the snow is as high as the barracks.

Dear Father, I hope you will answer this letter as soon as you can as I will write to you as often as I can. I have nothing more to say at present so I must conclude with my very kind love to you all.

Believe me, I remain your affectionate son,

Charles Jeal.

Good bye, God bless you, please write soon.
September 3rd, 2005  

Quebec, C.E.
24th October 1847

Dear Brother,

It is with my kind love to you that I write these few lines to you hoping they find you in good health as they leave me at present and thank God for it.

Dear Brother, I am glad to hear that you are getting on so well and I hope that next time you write you will be a sergeant. Dear brother, I was sorry to hear that grandmother had died. But I hear that (…..?).

Dear brother, the name of the ship that brought me from England was the Apollo. Dear brother, you told me that you were a soldier and doing duty instead of the regulars but I have heard since that there are still some regulars there.

Dear brother, I am very steady and never drink less than a quart of rum a day and I expect to be a corporal very soon. Dear brother, I am not bad friends with you, I am as good friends as ever and I think no more of the matter. Can you tell Ann Harwood that she is mistaken about Ellen driving me away.

Dear brother, I have had a letter from our mother and sister and they told me that they are all well. I send my respects to Charlotte and you and to Mildred and George and I think that he is getting on quite fast enough. My best respects to Thomas and Phoebe and to Ann and Ellen Harwood. Tell Ellen to keep herself happy because I am happy here because there are plenty of black people and French girls. Please let me know where Ellen is living. Give my best respects to Sarah Robinson and tell her that I would like to see her.

I will send you more news next time. Goodbye and God bless.

Charles Jeal.
Reserve Battalion, Light Brigade.
September 3rd, 2005  

Quebec, C. E.

7th November, 1849

Dear Sister,

I have taken the opportunity of addressing you once more with these lines hoping they will find you in good health as they leave me at present thank God.

Dear sisiter, I received a few lines from our Orderly addressed to from you to Colonel Lawrence asking whether I was dead or alive. This came as a great surprise to me as I was expecting an answer from you to the last letter I wrote to you about three months ago.

Since then the cholera has been so bad in Quebec we have had at least two hundred men fall ill in a single day. In fact we had a Carrehall Standard (?) at the gate day and night to take the sick to hospital but thank God I escaped it.

The inhabitants were getting sick very quickly and we could not walk the streets without seeing fifteen or twenty bodies being taken for burial.

Dear sister, give my best respects to my mother and father and family and be so good as to let them know that I wrote to them on 25th July but have not received a reply yet. I will write again in the next mail if I do not receive a letter before then.

Dear sister, let me know where my sister Dinah is because I would like to hear from her so I could write to her to ask the liberty of getting married. To my great pleasure it is to a black lady.

So, no more at present,

Your affectionate brother,
Charles Jeal.

Write by return of post.
September 3rd, 2005  

Kingston West

14th March, 1852

Dear father and mother,

I received your kind and welcome letter bearing the date 25th January and was glad to see from it that you were in as good health as this letter leaves me thanks be to God Almighty for his blessing on us poor sinners.

Dear father, you wish me to give you particular news about this country. In fact the account that Jean gave of this country was that there is a very long winter and generally what a man earns is a pittance if he can earn anything at all. What money he earns in the summer he eats up in the winter. Labourers here in the summer get from four to five shillings and two to three a day in the winter. Just like any other place, it is no good for a poor man.

Everything in this country is fairly cheap. Butter 7˝ a pound, beef 2˝, bread ˝ and everything else accordingly.

Give my brother George my kind respects and tell him and his wife to have plenty of the stuff that they made mention of in their letters.

Dear parents, I expect to come to England sometime in the year this summer but cannot tell you exactly when.

Dear father and mother, you told me to send you a photograph of the place. I was unable to find one but I will try to send one next time.

I have no more to say at present but remain your affectionate son,

Charles Jeal,
2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade.

Give my kind respects to all friends and acquaintances.
Give my kind respects to all my brothers and sisters and tell them I am very well.
September 3rd, 2005  

Before Sebastopol

3rd October, 1854

Dear father,

I received you welcome letter dated 20th August and was sorry to hear that you had been so unwell. It was some consolation to hear that you have got much better and are able to work again. I was glad to hear that the rest of the family are in good health.

Of course you wish to know if I have been in a battle. Long before this reaches you, you will have heard of the Battle of Alma. The enemy occupied a very strong position and we had some hard work to dislodge them but it only took us four hours to do the business but if we had fought them on level ground we would have beaten them in less than an hour. I am sorry to say that we lost a great many men but nearly as many as the Russians.

We have been here three or four days getting ready for the attack on this great fortress. Our engineers are full of confidence and believe the fort can be taken without as many losses as was first thought. So when I next write to you I shall be able to give you a good account of the Battle of Sebastopol.

This campaigning is very hard on ones constitution. We have no tents and the weather at night is beginning to get cold. I hope we will soon begin operations and get it over and done with.

But I have forgotten to tell you what you will be most anxious to hear and that is that I escaped the Battle of Alma without the slightest injury. The losses to our regiment were two sergeants, one corporal and six privates killed and one captain and forty-five wounded. Some of the other regiments lost between two and three hundred men killed and wounded.

I received the newspapers, give my love to my dear mother and all the family, and accept the same dear father.

From your affectionate son,

C. Jeal.
September 8th, 2005  
In answer to your first question you can sign on any where for any Regiment. In those days they would have teams of recruiting sergeants out looking for recruits.
[2] COE, means Church Of England, just so that knew who should mutter over you when you died.
I don't know if you are aware that most soldiers in this conflict died from disease rather than injuries. Two people became rather famous for their action out there, one was Florence Nightingale who is remembered for setting up the nursing Corps, and the other is a very colourful character called Mary Seacoal. Mary was the daughter of a Scottish Major and a West Indian slave that he married. She set up many canteens for the men and did a lot of the nursing and many things that had appeared in Florence Nightgales books on nursing had also been put forward by Mary Sea coal. Mary Seacoal was also a great favourite of Queen Victoria and they spent much time together.

As far as the other information I would suggest that you try the Green Jackets web site and they can put you in touch with their museum.

Hope this helps LeEnfield
September 9th, 2005  
Out of curiosity I typed into google Crimea War Quebec CE. and a whole load of mail is displayed with this lettering on it. CE could be a version of a Zip Code for ships.
March 29th, 2010  

Topic: Charles Jeal

I think I may have some basic information concerning Charles Jeal - from Billingshurst in Sussex, England - who is said to have died at Inkerman. The house where he was born is still there.
March 30th, 2010  
I think C.E stands for Canada East, It consisted of the southern portion of the modern-day Canadian Province of Quebec, and was primarily a French-speaking region.

As for being posted there well I suspect that was because the region was the frontier of the empire at the point in time.